Philosopher of the Heart: The Restless Life of Søren Kirkegaard is written by Clare Carlisle, Reader in Philosophy and Theology at King’s College London. The death of a physician by suicide was noted in the Journal of the American Medical Association (July 31, 2020), Women Physicians and the COVID-19 Pandemic, Linda Brubaker, MD (University of California, San Diego).
Dr. Brubaker wrote: “Now more than ever, physicians are stretched in their personal and professional lives. This may be even more true for women physicians. The dogmatic status quo remains in place: long (and perhaps even longer) work hours are necessary, and physicians will need to make personal sacrifices and compromises to meet these demands. The COVID-19 pandemic has made it easier to see this flawed narrative of life-work balance for medicine. Women physicians do not have trouble balancing competing demands any more than men physicians do. It is simply a more common expectation that women physicians will adjust their professional lives. The COVID-19 pandemic is requiring additional adjustments to the professional lives of physicians. Many of these adjustments will be made disproportionately by women physicians.”
I sent Dr. Brubaker a note in which I stated: “Our medical schools and medical centers need more women leaders, women who can demonstrate all the highest ideals of the practice of medicine. I believe in the creation of new leadership models, for example, the sharing of a Deanship or Hospital/Department Leadership by two physicians. The physician who died could have been helped by having provided her with a co-leader during this time of crisis.”
Søren Kirkegaard's beliefs and ideas are complex. Creating a philosophy of the heart will encourage creative ways to structure the intensity of responsibilities required for the continuing and future practice, and leadership of medicine.